Many issues, including proportionate responsibility (sometimes known as contributory negligence or comparative fault), can arise in a vehicle accident case. Recently, a Texas appeals court was asked to consider this issue, along with several evidentiary issues, after an accident involving an armored truck left a man with serious injuries.
The jury found in favor of the injured man, awarding him a substantial verdict. Dissatisfied with the result, the defendants appealed.
Facts of the Case
In the recent case of Hospadales v. McCoy, the plaintiff was a man whose vehicle was struck by an armored truck while he was traveling along Interstate 45. The plaintiff sued the defendants, the driver and owner of the truck, seeking monetary compensation for injuries to his neck, back, and knee, including medical expenses, lost earning capacity, and pain and suffering.
The case was tried to a jury and resulted in a verdict in the plaintiff’s favor in the amount of $292,000. The defendants appealed.
Decision of the Court of Appeals of Texas
In a 41-page opinion, the appellate court affirmed the trial court’s order entering judgment on the jury’s verdict, thereby rejecting the defendants’ arguments that the evidence was legally insufficient to show that the accident caused the plaintiff’s injuries, that the trial court erred in admitting the plaintiff’s medical records and bills into evidence, that the evidence was legally and factually insufficient to support the jury’s award of past lost earning capacity, that the evidence was legally and factually insufficient to support the jury’s awards for past medical expenses and for pain and suffering, and that the evidence was factually insufficient to support the jury’s finding that the plaintiff was not contributorily negligent.
With regard to the sufficiency of the evidence, the court noted that evidence is deemed legally sufficient if it would enable reasonable and fair-minded people to reach the verdict under review. Since the defendants were unable to show that the jury’s verdict was against the great weight and preponderance of the evidence, their argument as to the sufficiency of the evidence failed.
The court also found no abuse of discretion in the trial court’s decision to allow the plaintiff’s medical records and bills into evidence, noting that the plaintiff had offered sufficient evidence to establish causation between the accident at issue and the neck, back, and knee injuries for which he sought compensation. The court further opined that the jury’s $92,000 award for past medical expenses, $40,000 award for past lost earnings, and $160,000 award for past pain and suffering were supported by factually sufficient evidence and that, under Texas law, a jury is given a “great deal of discretion” in awarding an amount of damages that it deems appropriate for pain and suffering.
Lastly, the court pointed to video and still snapshots taken by the armored truck’s onboard video system as supporting the jury’s findings that the defendant driver was at fault and that the plaintiff was not contributorily negligent.
Need Advice from a Dependable East Texas Truck Accident Lawyer?
To talk to a skillful east Texas truck accident attorney about your motor vehicle collision case, call Earl Drott Law at (903) 531-9300. We offer a free, confidential case evaluation of your Tyler, Smith County, or other east Texas personal injury or wrongful death case. We handle most cases on a contingency fee basis, which means we get paid when your case is over if you receive a settlement or judgment from the party responsible for your injuries.
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